Sunday, January 19, 2020

NFL Conference Championship Results

This was a satisfying football Sunday. I am very glad to see the Chiefs win and am quite happy for their fans for the end of their 50 year wait. I am also very happy to see the Packers lose.

Conference Championship Results: 2-0 (100%)

Overall Results: Not Predictions

115-150 (43%)



1. AFC Championship Game

Tennessee Titans (11-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-4) W 1

2. NFC Championship Game

Green Bay Packers (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3) W 2

Titans finish 11-8

Packers finish 14-4

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Race for the White House # 55

This past Tuesday, six white Democrats, with only a small trace of Cherokee blood combined between them, met in Des Moines, Iowa for the final debate before February's statewide Precinct Caucuses.

Yes, it was remarked upon how lacking in racial diversity the current field is, especially among those who qualified for the debate. The week began on Monday with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker becoming the latest to end his campaign. He will now focus on reelection or perhaps a hope to join somebody on a ticket. The only remaining African-American candidate in the field from the party that produced Barack Obama, is Deval Patrick, who remains virtually invisible on the campaign trail. The 2016 open Presidential cycle saw no white Democrat enter the field. This open cycle saw several racial minorities run, but the end result seems to be that none will do any better than the previously unknown Andrew Yang.

For fifty years, Democrats and their allies on the left have claimed that a system of meritocracy was not enough and that affirmative outreach must be included in any push for diversity. That is why the party racially changed their delegate rules in 1972 to enure set-asides for racial groups as well as other minorities. For whatever reason, this has not worked to the advantage of the non-white candidates running in this very large field (while Republican can point to the presence of African-Americans and Latinos on the main debate stage in the last two cycles.) Will the party feel the necessity to do something different for future elections? Whatever the case, it cannot be denied, that if it were a Hollywood awards show, allies of these candidates would be calling for boycotts of the industry and demanding more diversity.

As for the actual all-white debate? It was definitely on the boring side. The only "fireworks" occurred immediately after the debate. While the candidates officially knew they were on camera, they tended to play it safe. This particular applies to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, whom polls show are in the first four (and fairly close together) positions in Iowa as well as several other states. All seemed content to try to coast by in the debate and not anger the supporters of the other candidates. It reminded me of a team that had clinched a playoff berth, sitting their best players during the homestretch of the regular season.

Tom Steyer was also there and he is not apt to attack any of his fellow candidates. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar came out a bit  more determined to elevate herself, but even she seemed to be playing fairly safe, and had a bit of an off night, struggling to remember the name of a Governor for instance. To the extent that no real news was made in this debate, that would seem to benefit Biden, the national front-runner. Some believe he looked more tired and disengaged in this debate than the last couple of them.

The big campaign news of the week is that the longtime detente agreement between Sanders and Warren is apparently over. These candidates have been fishing for votes in the same left-wing pond for a long time now. For a while it looked like Warren had a big advantage. Then it more recently shifted in the direction of Sanders. It was inevitable that these two would eventually have to have a "fight."

Reportedly, Sanders allies have been pushing him in contrast to Warren at the grassroots level. Welcome to Politics. Elizabeth Warren somehow seemed outrage by the fact that Bernie supporters would do this. Her response was then to claim that in a meeting they had at the beginning of the race, Sanders told her a woman could not be President. Sanders has said it was "ludicrous" that he would say that, while not exactly, completely offering a full denial. The actual allegation is not that Sanders said a woman should not be President, but that he was apparently questioning the electability of any against Donald Trump. Why Sanders thinks he is electable might be a whole other question, but this all seems pretty overblown to me. People tend to believe that despite his semi-denials, Sanders did say it, but many feel that Warren reacted too far by airing this dirty laundry and sour grapes publicly. Barely below the surface are the simmering tensions that exist from four years ago between Sanders supporters and those of Hillary Clinton. The Sanders folks feel, not completely without justification, that the nomination was stolen from them, while Hillary and her die-hards maintain that Sanders presence in the race and his slowness to endorse her hurt in November. They are somewhat right as well.

This matter was brought up on the stage, with a local Iowa reporter basically contradicting Sanders' denial immediately after he gave one. At their podiums, both candidates tried to gloss over this matter and not talk about any tensions between them. When the debate was over though, and with cameras rolling (with audio of the exchange also being available the next day), there was some more "action." As the candidates were all shaking hands and heading on their ways, Sanders offered his to Warren who instead of shaking her longtime friend's hand said, "I believe you just called me a liar on national television." Sanders was taken aback and said,"what", so Warren repeated herself and Sanders said something like "let's not get into it now. We can have this conversation later." All the while, Tom Steyer was caught up on the populist crossfire, saying he did not want to get in the  middle, but just wanted to say "goodnight." Ok, goodnight Tom! Sanders started to answer back Warren but then stopped himself and said, "let's not do this now." So, that was it. They departed with no handshake and a credit rolls scene straight out of Veep or perhaps with the Larry David as Bernie Sanders angle, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

The last few days has done nothing to diminish the concept of very strained feelings between Sanders and Warren. How will this effect the campaign trail in Iowa and beyond. Will their feuding help someone else as is often the case in politics? We just know that these two have to sit on a jury together now and along with Klobuchar (and the forgotten Michael Bennet) be absent from the campaign trail. All of these factors might seemingly be good news for Biden and Buttigieg in Iowa, as both continue to unveil endorsements. However, facetime with voters makes it harder to run from gaffes.

So, back to that jury. On Thursday, they were all sworn by Chief Justice John Roberts. All 100 of them. How many of these men and women have dreamed in the past or continue to this day of taking an oath administered by the Chief Justice? Damn near all of them probably .This was not likely what they had in mind though. Instead, they are preparing to serve in the solemn and serious matter of the Impeachment Trial of President Donald John Trump.

Opening arguments start Tuesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named a small but diverse group of House Democrats to serve as the Impeachment Managers,. She probably overdid it though by passing out ceremonial pens at the signing. On the other hand, Trump will have a potentially large legal team on the Senate floor that is said to now include Kenneth Starr, the former prosecutor of the impeached Bill Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz the very famous and much respected celebrity defense attorney, whose high profile clients have included O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein.

Will this trial be boring or will it be a circus? Will Chief Justice John Roberts have to rule from the "bench" in the Senate chamber, which might then be overruled by the Senate itself? Probably. Of course, most want to know about witnesses and if former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton might be called to testify. If so, what will he say and will we be able to tell whose "side" he is on. The media was much taken this week by an interview tour of Lev Parnas, a now indicted ex crony of Rudy Giuliani who says he wants to testify and can offer evidence that Trump himself was involved an effort to break the law regarding Ukraine policy. There were also developments that Ambassador Marie Yonanovich may have been under surveillance in Ukraine by Trump allies.  If Parnas testifies, television ratings may soar. What if Joe and Hunter Biden testify too? Four Republican Senators may have a say in all of this.  The Ukraine government though has announced an investigation into some of these allegations. So it appears, Trump got his wish for them to go after potential corruption after all.

Impeachment. Iowa. Iran. So much is going on as the year begins to kick into gear. The stock market often sets daily records and Trump himself can brag of the passage of trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and China. Things in theory should be thought as going well for him, but anybody who knows Trump will be able to say that this impeachment saga is weighing heavily on him. Almost nobody expects the end result will be his immediate removal from office, but one never knows what might pop up in the news cycle from day to day anymore and what the ultimate effect could be.




Friday, January 17, 2020

NFL Conference Championships

Almost forgot to post this...

I see that last year I said that while they were technically not predictions, I was going to go with both home teams. Both lost. This year, I will be doing the same.

Overall Results: 113-150 (43%)


1. AFC Championship Game

Tennessee Titans (11-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-4)

2. NFC Championship Game

Green Bay Packers (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

NFL Conference Semifinal Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Vikings (11-6) at 49ers (13-3) W 1
2. Titans (10-7) at Ravens (14-2) W 2

3. Texans (11-6) at Chiefs (12-4) W 3
4. Seahawks (12-5) at Packers (13-3) L 1

Conference Semifinal Results: 3-1 (75%)
Overall Results: 113-150 (43%)

Vikings finish 11-7
Texans finish 11-7

Seahawks finish 12-6

Ravens finish 14-3


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Race for the White House # 54

Nobody seemed to have a worse week than Iran. Not even loyalists of an old-fashioned British Royal Family.

A week ago, it looked like the U.S. might be on the precipice of war with Iran. Now, that looks far less likely, even though harsh words and harsh sanctions are likely to continue. While America must always be on guard for provocative action by Iranian actors, it looks like their government acted on their official "revenge" in a fairly laughable (though some American luck and skill possibly involved as well) manner. Far more tragic was the seemingly accidental missile that a skittish Iran fired that took down a Ukranian airliner in which there were no survivors and many citizens of nations such as Canada, and Iran lost their lives.

Everyone came across a bit skittish this week. Democrats seemingly still could not figure out how to best respond to the actions taken by Donald Trump nor the response from Iran in which missiles were from from within Iraq on American military bases. When this news broke, it sounded like a big deal and immediately gave the expectation that an American military response would be required. People on Twitter were insistent that 30 Americans had died. Or was it 80? However, there was not one American casualty or injury. Not one of our allies either. Thank goodness. Did Iran intentionally misfire? Was this all just for domestic consumption that they pretended to respond but tipped us off in a sense so that precautions could be taken?  Mixed messages have been forthcoming since.

The main message sent by Iran though was one of fear. They are scared of what the U.S. and potentially our psychopathic President Donald Trump might do in return to them. After thinking it over, Trump gave a speech the next day which was fairly restrained by his standards and while he stood by the killing of the Iranian general and opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal under Barack Obama, he did offer them a peaceful olive branch and pointed out that Iran seemed to be stepping down. I have to call it as a I see it. As much as I dislike and distrust Donald Trump, this did look like it had the potential to be a big political victory for him. I am glad that a new large avenue of war in the Middle East looks more unlikely now but it is hard to forget that Trump is the same President who "fell in love" with Kim Jong Un and who wanted to bring the Taliban to Camp David on 9/11 for a photo-op. Nonetheless, I am very grateful that instead of putting down our Intelligence Communities and military leadership, he seemed to listen to them over the past week and a half.

Politically, the early indications are that this has not worked out the way Trump has intended and that is said to upset him. Polls show basic approval for taking out Soleimani but basically divided along approval for Trump himself (though people like myself and Senator Rand Paul switch places.) The Administration is clearly having a hard time communicating that an "imminent threat" was at play and Trump himself started talking yesterday about a plot to blow up an Embassy. Americans, even many who prefer Trump to a Democrat, have long decided that he has very little credibility and will openly lie on matters big and small and thus do not believe the narrative. Utah Senator Mike Lee, a conservative who supports Trump on most policy matters was publicly quite angry in saying the briefing given to Congress about action in Iran was void of information and useless. Even one of Trump's staunched online and cable tv advocates, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz voted for a symbolic resolution in Congress to restrict what Trump can do in Iran and this was said to really anger the man in the White House. Next week, we now know will see the beginning of his Impeachment Trial in the Senate.

This has also been a tricky week for Democrats. National and key state polls are being looked at and everyone is waiting to see what might be said in Tuesday's CNN debate, which will be the final meeting of the candidates before the Iowa Caucuses, which according to the latest poll, has Bernie Sanders in front, with three opponents all trailing within the Margin of Error.

Six candidates are likely to debate, while 13 remain officially in the race for Democrats. The list of dropouts has now increased to 16 with the exit of spiritual guru Marianne Williamson. She laid off all her staff last week, and when she said she would try to keep running with a skeleton crew, she might have meant it literally. Alas though, she is the third female Democrat out of the race, while three remain.

Clearly, there are divisions among Democrats days. Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made some news when she said that in any other country she would not even be in the same party as Joe Biden and then suggested that Democrats might have "too big of a tent." Gee, what a winning message. Others on the fringe of the party have run the risk of coming across as either too sympathetic to Iran or unwilling to consider the possibility that American military action could possibly create a result less dire than they feared. Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg I felt went too far when he suggested the U.S. might somehow be to blame for Iran accidentally shooting down (and then lying about it for days before begrudgingly admitting responsibility) the Ukranian airplane. Mayor Pete suggested that confusion resulted because of a military "tit for tat." Actually no, the U.S. took action to take out a top terrorist, Iran responded ineffectively, and the U.S. has let that go without a response.

Debates will continue. Impeachment will proceed. Before we know it, voters (in both parties) will be going to the polls to nominate candidates (with the Democrat contest far less rigged than the Republican one.) There will be much to talk about. I hope that Iran does not have to talked about that much for the remainder of the year. If it is, hopefully, the topic will be Iran taking steps to negotiate a legitimate end to their nuclear program, as well as denouncing terrorism. Or maybe it will be about a frustrated Iranian people rising to change their evil regime and move towards freedom. These should be bipatisan goals that unify Americans even as we are so understandably divided domestically.

Friday, January 10, 2020

NFL Conference Semifinals

NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 110-149 (42%)


1. Vikings (11-6) at 49ers (13-3)
2. Titans (10-7) at Ravens (14-2)

3. Texans (11-6) at Chiefs (12-4)
4. Seahawks (12-5) at Packers (13-3)

Sunday, January 05, 2020

NFL Wildcard Weekend Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

Great games though!

1. Bills (10-6) at Texans (10-6) L 1
2. Titans (9-7) at Patriots (12-4) W 1

3. Vikings (10-6) at Saints (13-3) L 2
4. Seahawks (11-5) at Eagles (9-7) W 2

Wildcard Weekend Results: 2-2 (50%)
Overall Results: 110-149 (42%)

Eagles finish 9-8

Bills finish 10-7

Patriots finish 12-5
(insert your Robert Kraft joke here)

Saints finish 13-4

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Race for the White House # 53

The calendar has changed, we are officially having a Presidential election this year and the incumbent remains under Impeachment, with continued confusion about what the next step of the process will be. A foreign policy event also unfolded this week with tremendous potential to have either positive or negative ramifications for all the major figures in the race, but more importantly for American national security itself.

With 2020 being upon us, attention is being paid to campaign fundraising from the last quarter of the last  year. Bernie Sanders is doing extremely well. Elizabeth Warren has been losing steam. This is one of the opposite things I expected. Much like how the claims that various controversial things said by Trump would be the end of his candidacy last cycle, and he survived them all, it appears that Sanders having a heart attack is something that helped him politically. Go figure.

With the first contests being very close, reality set in for at least one candidate, as former Housing Secretary Julian Castro ended his run as the sole Latino candidate in the race. (Richard Ojeda of West Virginia had been the first to drop out eons ago.) His former opponents all saluted his efforts, with Joe Biden, perhaps not too unsurprisingly referring to him as "Cisneros." Spiritual guru Marianne Williamson laid off her entire campaign staff this week but said she is still in the race. Apparently, she will depend on the good spirits to catapult her to a surprise nomination.

On a personal note, I read today that neither Joe Walsh nor Bill Weld filed in Illinois to oppose Donald Trump in my state's Republican primary. The Land of Lincoln is also of course Walsh's home state, but his campaign seems to completely focused on whatever message they can send in Iowa and New Hampshire first. Thus, I feel like I have no choice. This March, for the first time ever, I as a longtime (now former) Republican precinct captain will take a Democrat ballot when I go to vote. I hope I do not lose my lunch in the process. I should probably vote before lunch. Primarily (no pun intended) I want to vote against the incumbent Cook County States' Attorney, and if she is to lose, it will only be in the Democrat primary. However, there will also be a Presidential question on the ballot. I do not know who will still be in the race then, but I guess I will be voting in the "beauty contest" portion for Mike  Bloomberg, the last unpalatable option. The former Mayor of New York is not even fielding delegates in the state though but just hoping to win some via the "popular vote" so to speak in the state. Surprisingly, Pete Buttigieg of neighboring Indiana failed to slate a full compliment of delegates in Illinois. (Andrew Yang did however.)

The big news of the week came out of the Middle East however. General Qassem Soleimani, considered the second most powerful man in Iran was obliterated by an American drone while at the airport in Badghad, Iraq this week on the orders of Donald Trump.

Let me state the obvious. Soleimani was an evil man with the blood of thousands on his hands. His death deserves a standing ovation. The Trump Administration is claiming that this was done because he was preparing an "imminent attack" of Americans within the region. If this is even remotely true, then Trump had no choice but to act. Any President should have and better have done the same thing. Otherwise, not only are facing the aftermath of a deadly attack, but then we are actually in a war with Iran by response .The current President says this was taken to stop a war not to start a war and I pray he is correct. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people simply do not trust a word Donald Trump says and I really cannot blame them for that. This is all very complicated, but we are indeed in a War on Terror since 9/11/01, even if Trump himself has been resisting that reality for decades. Soleimani was clearly behind an assault on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier in the week. Whatever exaggerations Trump may personally engage in regarding this matter (and I have no doubt he will do just that), it seems like the United States did what was necessary.

It is said this is the first time the United States targeted an official general of another country since World War II. That does make this a bit different from all the times that Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump successfully used drones to kill terrorist leaders but the fact of the matter is that this Iranian official was physically and very actively involved in the nation of Iraq and was thus very fair game.

Democrats and many in the media reacted with shock. They claimed we would soon be in World War III or some major conflict with Iran, since Iran is likely to retaliate. Of course, this Administration better prepare for any and all contingencies and hopefully will improve on what I believe has been an inconsistent and incoherent foreign policy. We heard much of the same thing in the past though, such as when Trump rightfully bombed Syrian targets and when he moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the capital of Jerusalem.

Look, this is much bigger than politics. I remain as NeverTrump as ever. He should still be removed from office. He should still be defeated in November. He ought to resign his office this very minute, but as long as he does have the job, I hope he does whatever is necessary to protect our security and that such efforts are successful. Democrats put themselves at policy and political risk by merely opposing this policy in a knee-jerk action. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have put out fairly measured statements, which show fear from taking too strong of a stance one way or another, while preditctably leftists like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are far more critical and willing to accuse Trump of trying to get us into an "endless war."

Trump himself had spoken about "endless wars" himself a good deal in criticizing his predecessors. He know is deploying troops back to the Middle East. Is it too much to ask if he might finally learned a lesson? Probably so. It also cannot be ignored that in 2011 and 2012, Trump frequently claimed Obama would "start a war with Iran to get reelected." Now, the claim is being made against Trump. To some extent he has himself to blame, especially since he is a reelection seeking President with middling to low poll numbers and actually under impeachment. However, considering what is undeniable about Iran, I cannot actually believe this is a totally fabricated "Wag the Dog" scenario. If that is ever proven true, then obviously you can add it to the impeachment. Too many people would have to tell too many big lies though for that to actually happen. I refuse to believe Trump is that effective of an "evil genius." I will also state that as horrible of a person as I continue to believe Trump is and despite many disagreements with his policy statements, especially on foreign policy, he and his team at least have been far more realistic about what Iran is than Obama was.

Americans around the world are certainly at risk of Iranian reprisal but this is not anything new. I think the threat was far greater, especially within the U.S. after the Obama/Biden Administration took out Osama bin Laden. They even spent a political campaign unseemly spiking the football over that, but it was still the right thing to do. Killing terrorist leaders always is. Yes, it would be good to have Congress as part of it, but Congress voted after 9/11 to give the President these authorities. That war has not ended. Our enemies have not announced a cease fire.

I am proud every day of the men and women who wear our country's uniform. Every day though, I remain immensely put-off by their Commander in Chief. While he might have done the right thing this past week, I can imagine he will find a way to talk about it, purely for political purposes, in a way that diminishes the seriousness of this mission. He is trying to get Democrats to walk into a trap. Will they show restraint and intelligence in the process?


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

NFL Wildcard Weekend

NOT PREDICTIONS

Regular Season Results: 108-147 (42%)

1. Bills (10-6) at Texans (10-6)
2. Titans (9-7) at Patriots (12-4)

3. Vikings (10-6) at Saints (13-3)
4. Seahawks (11-5) at Eagles (9-7)

Ok, the Sunday NFC picks are predictions.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

NFL Week 17 Results

The 100th Regular Season of the NFL is now over.

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) W 1
2. Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) W 2
3. Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) W 3
4. Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) W 4
5. Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) L 1
6. Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) L 2
7. Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) W 5
8. Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) W 6
9. Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) L 3
10. Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) W 7
11. Redskins (3-12) at Cowboys (7-8) L 4
12. Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) L 5
13. Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) L 6
14. Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) W 8
15. Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) L 7
16. 49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) L 8

Week 17 Results: 8-8 (50%) just like the Bears
Overall Results: 108-147 (42%)


Bengals finish 2-14

Redskins finish 3-13

Lions finish 3-12-1

Giants finish 4-12

Panthers finish 5-11
Chargers finish 5-11
Dolphins finish 5-11

Cardinals finish 5-10-1

Browns finish 6-10
Jaguars finish 6-10


Buccaneers finish 7-9
Raiders finish 7-9
Colts finish 7-9
Broncos finish 7-9
Jets finish 7-9
Falcons finish 7-9

Steelers finish 8-8
Bears finish 8-8
Cowboys finish 8-8

Rams finish 9-7

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 52

The end of the 1980's felt like a very big deal to me. Of course, I was pretty young then. The end of the 90's and the ushering in of Y2K definitely had its own feel as well. The past twenty years of history have been more like a blur, but of course much has happened, even if it is hard to immediately identify events with the 2000's or the 2010's. They sort of feel like the same. Most likely though, the "20's" are going to have a very distinctive feel. What will the world and specifically American politics look like ten years in the future? It is almost hard to know for certain, but as this Millennium began, we probably would not have bet on having had an African-American President within 20 years, and when this last decade kicked off, very few people could have ever dreamed that Donald Trump would be President.

There are lots of retrospective looks back at the decade this week. I am intending to do something pretty brief, as the Presidential contest is in a bit of a recess at the moment. When the "Twenty-teens" began (and this is something  I need to work on because I think it makes more sense and is a lot easier to say "Twenty Twenty..", even though I have been saying "Two Thousand... for as long as I can remember and it may be difficult to stop...) we were not that far removed from a large and historic Democrat victory in the year 2008. Many felt the election of Obama had signified a major realignment in America and that the Republican Party could even have a hard time surviving.

By the beginning of 2010 though, Obama was not exactly soaring in popularity and there had already been many signs, the Tea Party Movement for example, of opposition to his policies. Still, people tended to have personal respect for Obama, although political rhetoric was often heated. Republicans won the House of Representatives in the midterms that year, but were disappointed in not taking the Senate as well, largely because many the party nominated too many candidates that proved to be overly controversial or divisive.

Republicans had a great opportunity to try to make Obama a one-term President, but many felt that they would never be able to quite get their act together to defeat an incumbent. Ultimately, that proved to be correct. Mitt Romney was a strong and credible nominee, who had to fight harder than he should have against vastly weaker opponents in the 2012 primary season. He came fairly close to defeating an incumbent, and did a good deal better than the nominee in the last open election, but it was not enough as Obama's infrastructural advantages in the swing states gave him a stealth but significant edge. The Republican Party ended 2012 in better shape than it began the decade, but it still felt like a huge lost opportunity and many in the party expressed doom at the direction the country had moved in. While Obama's policies were far from universally supported, he simply managed to maintain the support of many casual voters who feared how they would be looked at if they voted to remove the nation's first minority President.

Obama did not move to the center as he began his second term and more frequently challenged the motives and compassion of his conservative opponents. His poll numbers moved downward as a well-organized and more disciplined Republican Party won a huge 2014 midterm landslide, in which they would take both Houses of Congress. Just about every competitive candidate that Obama campaigned for in that cycle wound up losing and he would go into his lame duck years apparently more concerned about his own legacy than the future of his Democrat Party.

A large and distinguished field of Republican Presidential contenders for 2016 emerged. Ultimately, there were too many experienced and respected candidates to matter. The populist twinges in the GOP which first started to gain notice in the Tea Party movement insisted that "outsiders" were more important than past results in other public offices. Few thought long-time political tease Donald Trump would run, but he did. Once he announced, many (myself included) thought he would be a joke as a candidate, but he had a solid base of support and to the pleasure of many but the dismay of more, took advantage of a divided and politically inept Republican field to become the surprise nominee. To be certain far more Republicans wanted someone else than wanted Trump, and they likely had him way down on their list, but the math worked out for Trump.

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton's second run for the Presidency was supposed to be a coronation, but hampered by weak political skills and controversy over her ethics, she struggled to put away socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Ultimately, she prevailed with the not so subtle help of the party and was on to face Trump.

Clinton was supposed to win in a landslide and become America's first female President and for much of the campaign it looked like that would happen. However, she continued to be a weak candidate, who took many states for granted, and Trump, while strongly unpopular at large, was able to make the narrative of "Crooked Hillary" stick. She won the popular vote, and not by a statistically small margin, but he won most of the swing states and was improbably President-Elect. Once again, it was proven quiet difficult for a party to win three consecutive Presidential elections. Obama was still fairly popular personally but people wanted to move in a new direction from many of his liberal policies, and even many who had supported Obama previously found themselves drawn to Trump's populism, which mixed left and right wing elements.

Republicans tended to be elated that Clinton was denied and that they would be able to do such things as nominate the next Justice to the Supreme Court. Some thought only Trump had what it took to beat her, but I strongly disagree. The evidence clearly shows that a more "normal" Republican would have beaten Clinton and done so far more easily. While some Trump voters may have stayed at home or even voted Democrat, the number of center-right upscale voters, who had supported John McCain and Romney before, and who refused to vote for Trump would have brought about an even greater coalition. The opposition to Hillary Clinton and national Democrats in rural and blue-collar parts of the country (among white voters) was significant enough that those voters would have supported virtually any other GOP nominee. Despite what some Trump die-hards claim, there is not much evidence that African-Americans, Latinos, or Asian-Americans are more supportive of him than they would have been with other Republicans. It is hard to ignore long-term demographic disaster for the GOP is Trumpism, with its roots in white resentment politics, is not ultimately supplanted by something that can build a larger coalition.

The last three years of Donald Trump as President have been interesting to say the least. His Administration has seen some big political wins, as well as major losses, such as the Democrats' landslide 2018 midterm cycle. Trump has also of course been under the shadow of personal corruption from Day 1 and is currently impeached and awaiting a trial that seems set up for him to survive Constitutionally.


Republican renegades of the NeverTrump variety, such as yours truly, continue to speak out in moral and policy terms against the man's occupation of the Oval Office but for now, he continues to hold the support of the vast majority of Republicans. Some like everything he does. Some like what he does but not so much what he says. Many others simply fear for the country if the Democrats take over and feel they have no other choice. In what I consider a lost opportunity for the country, there is virtually no movement underway for a "centrist" Presidential candidate in the general election.

This means that within a few short months, Trump is likely to be facing off one on one with a Democrat again. Their field is even larger than what Republicans had in 2016, although many have already dropped out. Polls show that general election matchups could go either way, which should strike fear in the hearts of partisans of both parties.

Right now, be it due to specific policies or worldwide cycles, the American economy is perceived as strong. Holiday sales this past month set records as the does the stock market. Trump will get credit for much of this whether he deserves to or not. He is not disciplined enough to use this to optimal political advantage and thus, many people will overlook the economy just to vote out Trump. However, there is a chance that many voters who want a new President will reluctantly stick with him.

Trump's job approval numbers are not great, though people will argue about whether the current impeachment saga has helped or hurt him in this regard. Nonetheless, the eventual Democrat nominee will have personal and political baggage to deal with.  Many feel that former Vice President Joe Biden is the "safe" choice, and they may be right. He looks like the candidate best equipped to take back those who took a chance on Trump in 2016. Biden still has to win the nomination though. He may be able to do so, similar to how Romney was in his party in 2016, but it will not be easy, with all the opponents he is facing. Then, having Biden in the news every day, with his long-time history of gaffes and weird statements, may prove to be a white knuckle ride.

If not Biden, then whom? A completely fresh face like Pete Buttigieg? There are pros and cons to that possibility for Democrats. A billionaire unapologetic capitalist like Mike Bloomberg? He could potentially even win my vote in November, but he will only get there is the party is beyond desperate and Biden, Buttigieg, and others are all vanquished by an ugly primary process.

Then, that leaves Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two left-wing Senators who are fishing from the same pond of voters. Sanders made a lot of noise the last time, but is still an avowed socialist and is the oldest (though not by far) candidate in the field. Warren looked like she had passed Sanders for several months this year and I thought she was the most likely person to become the nominee. Now, she has struggled and Sanders looks like he is above her again. I honestly have no clue who might emerge as the Democrats' nominee. Perhaps a wild, contested convention that turns to Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey might be their best bet. Of course, to the consternation of many on the left, I will say the best chance to oust Trump for the sake of the Republic, would have been for Democrats to work out a deal with NeverTrump Republicans in which they would find a "centrist" candidate to agree on in 2020 with the understanding that the ideological battles would resume after that.

So, get ready for a wild 2020. We have not gotten to this perilous time by accident. There have been so many missed opportunities for both Democrats and Republicans to take advantage of the end of this decade.

Biden vs. Trump? My hunch is Biden would win. Maybe a close one, maybe not so close. Warren vs. Trump? Coin-toss. Sanders vs. Trump? Say hello to "Four More Years."

For me, I am supporting Joe Walsh, on principle, in his quixotic bid on any Republican ballot that is not rigged to keep him off of. After all, despite his past faults, he is the only actual conservative running for President. I have no idea what I will find myself doing in November, except to say I will never vote for Donald Trump and will not be able to bring myself to vote for a far-left Democrat who holds positions that are completely counter to my values. Perhaps luckily for me though, I do not live in a swing state.

Ten years from now, as we are about to say hello to the Thirties, what will Americans say about the Twenties? It is entirely possible our entire political system would have been realigned by then, or maybe things will remain at loggerheads as they seem to be now.

If the Twenties are to "roar", hopefully, it will be in a positive way, not for any particular political party, but for a "New Birth of Freedom" that America desperately needs.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

NFL Week 17 Games

NOT PREDICTIONS

Let us hope next season is better...

Overall Results: 100-139 (42%)

1. Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14)
2. Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3)
3. Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5)
4. Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4)
5. Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5)
6. Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1)
7. Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10)
8. Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8)
9. Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11)
10. Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5)
11. Redskins (3-12) at Cowboys (7-8)
12. Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2)
13. Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10)
14. Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9)
15. Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7)
16. 49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

NFL Week 16 Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7) W 1
2. Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3) L 1
3. Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3) L 2

4. Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11) L 3
5. Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9) L 4
6. Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11) L 5
7. Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8) L 6
8. Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8) L 7
9. Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9) W 2
10. Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6) L 8
11. Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9) L 9
12. Lions (3-10-1) at Broncos (5-9) W 3
13. Cardinals (4-9-1) at Seahawks (11-3) W 4
14. Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7) L 10
15. Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7) L 11

16. Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4) L 12

Week 16 Results: 4-12 (25%)
Overall Results: 100-139 (42%)


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 51

This season, families and friends will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah much in the same way that has been done for generations, as we all seem to somewhat take for granted the historic nature and the weight of issues facing America and our culture.

Our President has been impeached. It would be hard to find a single person who voted against him along with many who voted for him, that did not expect this to happen eventually, as soon as he was surprisingly elected. Technically, Donald Trump is the first Republican President to ever be impeached, but still received unanimous support from the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives that still call themselves Republicans. Two Democrats also voted "no" on both Articles of Impeachment. One has jumped parties now while the other is a veteran lawmaker from a conservative rural district. Interestingly enough, lame duck Congresswoman and Democrat Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, voted "present" on both articles, pleasing virtually nobody. It feeds into many questions about her motivations, values, and plans, once she is officially eliminated from the Democrat Presidential sweepstakes.

Trump loves to brag, often inaccurately, about the size of his 2016 victory, including getting the Electoral College numbers wrong, as he once again did in an angry multi-paged manifesto he sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the vote. However, he can finally claim to be the President to have gotten the most votes; the most votes to impeach. Even as virtually nobody anticipates that two thirds of a U.S. Senate controlled by Republicans will oust him from office, he is likely to have the most votes against him in an impeachment vote in that body as well.

Will there even be a trial? Right now, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are playing a game of chicken with the White House and especially Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell about releasing the articles. Trump is saying he wants a quick and speedy trial. Democrats may want to let him twist a bit over that, however, that sort of political  maneuvering could be incredibly risky to them. After all, they spoke at length about the need to impeach Trump quickly because of the stakes involved, especially the rapidly approaching 2020 election. Indeed, I do believe this should be taken up in the Senate as soon as possible, but I also understand why Democrats are trying to play the only political card they have left, which is the desire of many Americans for a "fair trial" which would involve witness testimony that Trump does not want provided and which could produce new headlines. The fact that McConnell and other Senate Republicans are saying they are not going to be impartial jurors, even though they will have to take an oath to be just that, is also a political risk for Republicans.

The bottom line to all of this is that Trump has been impeached, and not by a close vote, as he deserved to be. If nothing else, history will note that some people tried to stop what will hopefully be an aberration and not a new trend of abuse of power in the way that Trump did just that. What will also be noted, at least until the present date, is the absence of elected Congressional Republicans in taking a stand for the Constitution and fairness above party labels or ideological differences.

This is a a bit of a shameful time for me as a Republican. I also believe that many Democrats also felt that same sense of shame last year when their party acted in a completely irresponsible and partisan way regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Bret Kavanaugh. As sad and angry I am at the Congressional Republicans I once admired, I cannot help but think that if the party labels were reversed, they of course would be all for impeachment, while many Democrats would be defending their President using much of the same tactics and rhetoric.

The reality of the situation though is that it is a Republican President who did these deeds and whom Democrats are trying to hold accountable. To the extent that I was able to follow the impeachment debate on Wednesday, I sure felt like a Democrat like I never have before in my life. Some of the arguments to defend Trump in which comparisons to Pearl Harbor and the crucifixion of Christ were downright cringe worthy. Again though, there is nothing about the Democrats to lead me to believe they would be above such ridiculousness to save their own political hides. Justin Amash of Michigan, an often iconoclastic politician, who has thus far always been elected as a Republican, before changing to Independent not long ago, voted for both articles and was able to articulate why. There is a possibility that he could be named as one of the Impeachment Mangers in the Senate trial. I also cannot help but think that if this were a "secret vote" there would have been literally dozens of GOP votes to impeach. Of course, we demand our leaders stand up and act publicly so that they may be judged by their voters. That is the way it should be.

Wednesday was a very odd day, though I remember watching the coverage 21 years ago this December in which Bill Clinton was impeached and it being covered as a far more historical event.  At the very moment Trump was being impeached, he was speaking at a large style campaign rally in Michigan. He typically speaks for a very long time at these events and surely knew by the time he eventually walked off stage he would be impeached. Of course, he went on many weird tangents during this rally, including a stupid riff about the pronunciation of Pete Buttigeg's name. What people remembered the most though is that he took a shot at Debbie Dingell, the Michigan Congreswoman who voted to impeach him, and he who recently lost her husband John Dingell, who served in Congress longer than any other American. He made inaccurate statements about actions he took to honor Dingell when he died and then inferred that he was perhaps looking up from hell. Many in the rally audience even groaned and some Republicans have called for Trump to apologize, which of course he will not. If cruelty were an impeachable offense, he would be impeached on a daily basis.

Of course, Democrats continue to seek the job of President. On Thursday, in Los Angeles, a smaller crowd of qualifying Democrats met for a three hour debate. The first hour was very substantive and policy-wonk like. It should have made the party feel good. Then, it devolved into more of a political food fight  where the candidates attacked each other to try to jockey for position in the early states. Interestingly enough though, national front-runner Joe Biden was virtually left alone and had his least gaffe effected performance yet.  Instead, other candidates, especially Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar went after Pete Buttigieg. Warren was especially eager to point out a recent "Mayor Pete" fundraiser in Napa Valley in which "millionaires and billionaires" held an event in a "wine cave."

Clearly, there is a concern among many campaigns about the appeal of Buttigieg in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he has the potential to win both of the first two states. Watching these portions of the debates (and continuing to have massive policy disagreements with Buttigieg) I cannot help but think he was very effective in turning back these attacks. He was ready for them and pulled off his lines strongly, especially when he pointed out he was the only non-millionaire on stage and that Warren was calling for a litmus test she herself could not pass, because she had previously taken money from large donors as well. The Massachusetts Senator seemed to be pretty silent after the South Bend Mayor returned serve. The fact that Democrats think they might be able to compete at full strength in this campaign without the support of very rich people (who of course would be those who want to get rid of Trump) is laughable. Buttigieg I believe is easily perhaps the strongest pure politician of any Democrat running now, and might be someone who will be heard from again down the road, considering his very young age. ( I was saying the same about Marco Rubio the last cycle though regarding some of his strong debate performances.) Klobuchar will continue to point out that Mayor Pete has never won statewide (and indeed failed very badly in one past attempt) and that might be a continued sticking point for those who want someone to have served in higher office. For as good of a politician as Buttigieg might be becoming, a statewide win for a liberal in Indiana seems unlikely.

By Friday, a story on cable news seemed to overshadow the Democrats' debate and that is that the magazine Christianity Today (a suburban Chicago publication which I have to admit I had never heard of before this week) took the rare step to stay that Trump should be removed as President. This is an Evangelical Christian publication started decades ago by the Rev. Billy Graham. While they do not wade into politics frequently, they pointed out the need to be consistent on Trump as they had been in the '90s when they called for Clinton to leave office. To be expected, Trump and his allies fired back calling Christianity Today a "failing" and a "far-left" publication, which of course is not true. Billy Graham's son Franklin, along with other relatives, also pushed back strongly against the magazine the family patriarch had founded, claiming the senior Graham had voted for Trump before he died and that they all would again.

While I believe it is sadly true that the Evangelicals who have chosen to look the other way on a myriad of other Trump dysfunctions are not going to change their mind because a retiring editor wrote such a powerful piece. However, he deserves kudos for doing so and it has to be recognized that a schism among Evangelicals exists over Trump. I think this will especially be true about the youngest members of that group, who are likely to be less forgiving of racism and misogyny as a means to an end to achieve other political objectives. The more someone is able to take a risk and speak out, the more likely it is that others will as well, or will at least be willing to open their minds to the full picture.

So, Christianity Today has been consistent on the matter of Presidential character and the rule of law and so am I. I continue to believe I was right to want Bill Clinton removed from office after his impeachment (even though the risk existed for a Democrat to be  more likely to win in 2000) and certainly I have long been in favor of Trump being removed from office of stepping down from office, under peaceful, Constititional means.

The facts of the Ukraine matter speak for themselves. They were illegal and immoral. As far as I am concerned, the findings of the Mueller Report in regards to Russian collusion were worthy of Impeachment as well but the reasons to oppose Trump on the issue of character go far beyond that.

Donald J. Trump is simply unworthy because of the life he has led and the actions he takes, under the guise of the Presidency. Too many Americans seems to shrug though and just focus on what to them feels like a currently strong economy. This has its roots from the Clinton saga, where Democrats and many in the mainstream media felt that character was secondary to policy. Now, Republicans have largely moved to take that same position, while the country is worse off for it. What will happen one day when another President, of whatever party, acts even worse than Trump? The precedent is being set that too many Americans have been silent when morality demanded action. We have normalized illegality and immorality in the Presidency.

Still, I will choose to be an optimist about history and how this will all be remembered. As one Democrat Congressman put it during the debate, if Trump leaves office in one month, one year, or five years, impeachment will follow him and his legacy forever. For now, many people will continue to try to get Trump out of the White House, even if we cannot agree on a unifying figure to oppose him at Election time. That means, that the possibility exists that it might take five years for him to leave office.

Far longer than that though will be our unwritten legacy as a country and the standards of decency, honor, integrity, and faithfulness, we set for our leaders, and for ourselves.

Friday, December 20, 2019

NFL Week 16 Games

NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Record: 96-127 (43%)

1. Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7)
2. Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3)
3. Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3)

4. Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11)
5. Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9)
6. Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11)
7. Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8)
8. Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8)
9. Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9)
10. Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6)
11. Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9)
12. Lions (3-10-1) at Broncos (5-9)
13. Cardinals (4-9-1) at Seahawks (11-3)
14. Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7)
15. Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7)

16. Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4)


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

NFL Week 15 Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Jets (5-8) at Ravens (11-2) W 1

2. Patriots (10-3) at Bengals (1-12) L 1
3. Buccaneers (6-7) at Lions (3-9-1) L 2
4. Texans (8-5) at Titans (8-5) L 3
5. Broncos (5-8) at Chiefs (9-4) W 2
6. Dolphins (3-10) at Giants (2-11) L 4
7. Eagles (6-7) at Redskins (3-10) L 5
8. Seahawks (10-3) at Panthers (5-8) L 6
9. Bears (7-6) at Packers (10-3) L 7
10. Vikings (9-4) at Chargers (5-8) L 8
11. Jaguars (4-9) at Raiders (6-7) W 3
12. Browns (6-7) at Cardinals (3-9-1) L 9
13. Rams (8-5) at Cowboys (6-7) W 4
14. Falcons (4-9) at 49ers (11-2) W 5
15. Bills (9-4) at Steelers (8-5) W 6

16. Colts (6-7) at Saints (10-3) L 10

Week 15 Results: 6-10 (38%)
Overall Results: 96-127 (43%)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

2019-2020 College Football Bowl Games

As usual, here is a list of all the upcoming Bowl games. Hopefully, I will find the ones I can see to be entertaining. This year though, there is no Northern Illinois Huskies to cheer for nor Northwestern Wildcards or even the Fightin' Treasonists of Trump University.
The teams highlighted in bold will be who I "want" to win, and like the NFL games are not predictions. For most of these games, I will not care too much though. The rankings used will be the official CFP numbers. These games start on Friday afternoon on foreign soil (though a game officially sponsored by my suburban neighbor of Elk Grove Village, Illinois)

1. Bahamas Bowl
Nassau, Bahamas

State University of New York at Buffalo Bulls vs. North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers

2.  Frisco Bowl
Frisco, TX

Utah State Aggies vs. Kent State Golden Flashes

3. Celebration Bowl
Atlanta, GA

Alcorn State Braves vs. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical Aggies

4. New Mexico Bowl
Albuquerque, NM

Central Michigan Chippewas vs. San Diego State Aztecs

5. Cure Bowl
Orlando, FL

Liberty Flames vs. Georgia Southern Eagles

6. Boca Raton Bowl
Boca Raton, FL

Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. Florida Atlantic Owls

7. Camellia Bowl
Montgomery, AL

Florida International Panthers vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves

8. Las Vegas Bowl
Whitney, NV

# 19 Boise State Broncos vs. Washington Huskies

9. New Orleans Bowl
New Orleans, LA

# 20 Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Alabama at Birmingham Blazers

10. Gasparilla Bowl
Tampa, FL

Central Florida Knights vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

11. Hawai'i Bowl
Halawa, HI

Hawai'i at Manoa Rainbow Warriors vs. Brigham Young Cougars

12. Independence Bowl
Shreveport, LA

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Miami Hurricanes

13. Quick Lane Bowl
Detroit, MI

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles

14. Military Bowl
Annapolis, MD

North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels vs. Temple Owls

15. Pinstripe Bowl
New York, NY

Michigan State Spartans vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

16. Texas Bowl
Houston, TX

# 25 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Texas A&M Aggies

17.  Holiday Bowl
San Diego, CA

# 22 Southern California Trojans vs. # 16 Iowa Hawkeyes

18. Cheez-It Bowl
Phoenix, AZ

United States Air Force Academy Falcons vs. Washington State Cougars

19. Camping World Bowl
Orlando, FL

# 15 Notre Dame du Lac Fighting Irish vs. Iowa State University of Science and Technology Cyclones

20. Cotton Bowl
Arlington, TX

# 10 Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions vs. # 17 Memphis Tigers

21. Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, AZ

# 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. # 3 Clemson Tigers

22. Peach Bowl
Atlanta, GA

# 1 Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College Tigers vs. # 4 Oklahoma Sooners

23. First Responder Bowl
University Park, TX

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Western Michigan Broncos

24. Music City Bowl
Nashville, TN

Mississippi State University of Agriculture and Applied Science Bulldogs vs. Louisville Cardinals

25. Redbox Bowl
Santa Clara, CA

California, Berkeley Golden Bears vs. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini

26. Orange Bowl
Miami Gardens, FL

# 9 Florida Gators vs. # 24 Virginia Cavaliers

27. Belk Bowl
Charlotte, NC

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Hokies vs. Kentucky Wildcats

28. Sun Bowl
El Paso, TX

Florida State Seminoles vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

29. Liberty Bowl
Memphis, TN

# 23 United States Naval Academy, Annapolis Midshipmen vs. Kansas State Wildcats

30. Arizona Bowl
Tuscon, AZ

Wyoming Cowboys vs. Georgia State Panthers

31. Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, TX

# 11 Utah Utes vs. Texas at Austin Longhorns

32. Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL

# 14 Michigan Wolverines vs. # 13 Alabama Crimson Tide

33. Outback Bowl
Tampa, FL

# 18 Minnesota, Twin Cities Golden Gophers vs. # 12 Auburn Tigers

34. Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA

# 6 Oregon Ducks vs. # 8 Wisconsin-Madison Badgers

35. Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, LA

# 5 Georgia Bulldogs vs. # 7 Baylor Bears

36. Birmingham Bowl
Birmingham, AL

Boston College Eagles vs. # 21 Cincinnati Bearcats 

37. Gator Bowl
Jacksonville, FL

Indiana Bloomington Hoosiers vs. Tennessee, Knoxville Volunteers

38. Potato Bowl
Boise, ID

Ohio Bobcats vs. Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack

39. Armed Forces Bowl
Fort Worth, TX

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles vs. Tulane Green Wave

40. LendingTree Bowl
Mobile, AL

Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns vs. Miami Oxford, Ohio RedHawks

41. National Championship
New Orleans, LA

Fiesta Bowl Winner vs. Peach Bowl Winner

LSU over Clemson
Clemson over Oklahoma
LSU over Ohio State
Oklahoma over Ohio State

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 50

The year and the decade are soon to pass and American politics remain divided and tribalized. This week, Donald Trump became the fourth President ever to have formal Articles of Impeachment voted out of Committee to the whole of the House of Representatives. We can expect action this week on the House floor that will be quite indicative of our times. Republican Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency before the act of Impeachment, when it seemed clear that he might be forced from office. Democrats Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton of course were acquitted with unanimous support from the Senators of their own party. Many are predicting the same fate for Donald Trump, with all Republican Senators, even those who have expressed dismay over his actions, to vote to keep him in office until the next election. Time will tell if the history will be made in terms of specific votes, but it seems nearly impossible to conceive that Trump will "lose" in the Senate.

Of course, the House will vote first. I remember watching the debate and the vote 20 years ago, nearly to the day, as well as the immediate and defiant response by Bill Clinton and House Democrats. Still, several House Democrats, most representing conservative areas, did vote to impeach Clinton, and several moderate Republicans opposed impeachment. This week, the vote is expected to be even more along party lines. While an iconoclastic libertarian is expected to vote differently from his one time Republican colleagues, many will be surprised if a single House Republican votes to impeach. The signs are clear that Democrats will have the votes to pass the threshold, as several Democrats in districts won by Donald Trump have said they will vote to impeach. Still, there is news today that one of just two Democrats to have opposed the inquiry itself, is actually preparing to switch parties and join the Party of Trump in a district that Republicans have usually won. If this comes to pass, clearly freshman Congressman Jeff Van Drew will have come to accept that his chances of remaining the Democrat nominee in his district without a pro-impeachment vote have already passed.

For Congressman and Senators, so much of this is about politics and political survival as well as the fear of "rocking the boat." The fact that these votes are occurring so close to the next Presidential election will give many cover.  Politicians are afraid of defeat though, if not in general elections, than in primaries. Next Saturday, I may offer some more personal thoughts about courage and doing the right thing and how that is lacking today. To be clear though, I am a staunch conservative who believes the 45th President needs to be removed from office through this Constitutional and peaceful process because he has so clearly abused the powers of his office for personal and political benefit. As I have said before, the facts itself are not so much in dispute. Either people care or they do not. They should care. We have Presidents not dictators in America. Nobody, no matter how powerful or how good (or bad) of a politician as they might be is above the law. Regardless of outcome, this message needs to sent to all of America and all the world in present time. Ultimately, history will judge all who were in a position to confirm or sanction the actions of Trump.

Of course long before he ever spoke on the phone to a Ukranian leader, Donald Trump was a person lacking of character and basic decency. This week, he was passed up by Time Magazine as "Person of the Year" and he seems to not like that, much as he has complained in decades past about not being nominated for Emmy's and things of that nature. Instead, the distinction (which is not even technically an honor, though it was intended as such in this case) to Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old girl from Sweden who received international fame this year as a "climate activist" and whose anger on the issue attracted much attention. It has to be said that Miss Thunberg is also someone with Asperger's Syndrome, which likely makes her both very intelligent and driven but also quite awkward in public settings. Whatever one thinks of her politics (and by being an activist, she certainly should not be beyond criticism on substance) or the magazine selecting her (I would have gone with people like Col. Vindman and Dr. Hill for instance), her being attacked on Twitter by a petty and jealous President, using specific language that seemed to reference her medical condition was cheap and uncalled for. Trump told her she needs to deal with her "anger management" and to "chill." The supposedly enigmatic First Lady of the United States who understandably asks for privacy for her young son but also leads a campaign called "Be Best" about cyber bullying shamefully sides with her husband once again on matters like this. After all, that could be in her contract. Something tells me those words may come back to haunt Trump, perhaps a little less than a year from now. Miss Thunberg snarkily added these words to her Twitter bio. Good move. It might be easier for someone on the Autistic Spectrum to overcome these matters than a true sociopath like DJT.

As always, the contest for the Democrat nomination marches on. A debate was scheduled for this upcoming week in Los Angeles, but that now seems to be in peril because no candidate will be willing to cross a union picket line to participate.

If the debate is held, candidates may be asked about this past week's general election in Great Britain. To summarize, it was a huge victory for Conservatives and the worse defeat for the Labour Party since I believe the 1920s or 1930s. At one point, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were brothers in arms in terms of "third way centrism." Now, their respective parties have moved very much to the left and that has had harsh consequences for those parties in both countries.

Not everything that happened in the UK is relevant to our own politics, but much should be considered. It was the surprise victory of "Brexit" that predated the surprise election of Trump in the U.S. and for many of the same reasons. That action of right-wing populism has been rocky since but clearly the voters determined they still want Brexit to be completed. Many believe this means that Trump's reelection is more likely than many believe. If nothing else, it should make Democrats think.

Boris Johnson is a controversial recent Prime Minster who is often compared to Donald Trump in ways beyond their physical resemblance. Still, his party had little difficulty dispatching that of Jeremy Corbyn, an old school socialist who was quite divisive, even in his own party. For one thing, Corbyn has never been able to get past his long association with anti-Semitic causes and individuals. For others, what he and his party were offering were just too far left to be palatable, and this is of course in a country that is inherently more liberal and open to larger government than the United States has ever been. To no one's surprise, Corbyn will be stepping down as the head of his party after such a humiliating defeat.

Again, our systems are different. They elect a Prime Minister based on individual legislative elections (most recently Democrats won a majority of House races), and we of course have an Electoral College, which allowed Trump to win, despite getting far fewer votes nationwide than his opponent. Even staunch Trump supporters seem to concede the Democrat will ultimately win more votes than their man next year.

Both parties should look at what happened in the UK though and be concerned. For Republicans, it could mean that a divisive leader with controversial associations to bigotry might be too much for people to vote for, even if they agree with the party on many issues and even if the opposition leader is heavily flawed. However, we basically saw that template in 2016 and we know the results.

Democrats need to ask themselves about the risks of moving too far to the left, as Corbyn and his party did. The fact that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are leading contenders for the nomination makes this more than a hypothetical. Other Democrat candidates such as Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden openly raised this concern late this week after the British elections.

I cannot help but see the irony of Biden doing this. Over thirty years ago, as a first time Presidential contender, he was forced to drop out of the race after being caught plagiarizing the life story and family background of the leader of the Labour Party, who that year would also see his party lose big.

This year, Biden is certainly unlikely to borrow any speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and is pleading for his party not to copy their template very closely at all.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

NFL Week 15 Games

NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 90-117 (43%) 

1. Jets (5-8) at Ravens (11-2)

2. Patriots (10-3) at Bengals (1-12)
3. Buccaneers (6-7) at Lions (3-9-1)
4. Texans (8-5) at Titans (8-5)
5. Broncos (5-8) at Chiefs (9-4)
6. Dolphins (3-10) at Giants (2-11)
7. Eagles (6-7) at Redskins (3-10)
8. Seahawks (10-3) at Panthers (5-8)
9. Bears (7-6) at Packers (10-3)
10. Vikings (9-4) at Chargers (5-8)
11. Jaguars (4-9) at Raiders (6-7)
12. Browns (6-7) at Cardinals (3-9-1)
13. Rams (8-5) at Cowboys (6-7)
14. Falcons (4-9) at 49ers (11-2)
15. Bills (9-4) at Steelers (8-5)

16. Colts (6-7) at Saints (10-3)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NFL Week 14 Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1 . Cowboys (6-6) at Bears (6-6) W 1


2. Panthers (5-7) at Falcons (3-9) W 2
3. Colts (6-6) at Buccaneers (5-7) L 1
4. Dolphins (3-9) at Jets (4-8) L 2
5. 49ers (10-2) at Saints (10-2) L 3
6. Lions (3-8-1) at Vikings (8-4)  L 4
7. Broncos (4-8) at Texans (8-4) L 5
8. Ravens (10-2) at Bills (9-3) L 6
9. Bengals (1-11) at Browns (5-7) L 7
10. Redskins (3-9) at Packers (9-3) L 8
11. Chargers (4-8) at Jaguars (4-8) L 9
12. Steelers (7-5) at Cardinals (3-8-1) W 3
13. Titans (7-5) at Raiders (6-6) W 4
14. Chiefs (8-4) at Patriots (10-2) W 5
15. Seahawks (10-2) at Rams (7-5) W 6


16. Giants (2-10) at Eagles (5-7) L 10

Week 14 Results: 6-10 (38%)
Overall Results: 90-117 (43%)

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 49

Last Saturday, I commented upon the chances of 18 Democrats running for President, and was a bit harsh but realistic in my assessment of some. Were the campaigns reading? Probably not, but within 24 hours, Joe Sestak was out of the race. I know, I know, not really a huge deal there, but the next day saw Montana Governor Steve Bullock leave as well. He was not considered any sort of a front-runner at any point, but the same cannot be said for California Senator Kamala Harris. On Tuesday, when I was home sick with a cold, she surprised many by suspending her campaign.

It is amazing to realize how highly touted Harris once was as a Presidential candidate, both after her initial kickoff, and after a debate appearance this past summer. I know I even said I thought she might very well be on the ticket, perhaps as the Vice Presidential candidate. It has been all downhill for her since then though for a myriad of reasons. A big one, that many people have said, is that in television appearances, she was just not "likable." Females candidates sometimes suffer that perception worse than men, and is a big part of the reason why Hillary Clinton never managed to become President (though she continues to publicly say it may not be to late for her to get in again.) Harris was gambling everything on a strong showing in Iowa, but after an audit of her campaign finances, the  money was not there for her to continue. Perhaps by leaving the race, especially before the prospect of being embarrassed on a California primary ballot, she might have a chance of still somehow getting on the ticket or more likely a Cabinet position if a Democrat wins the election.

There are still other women running for President, especially Harris's fellow Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar (Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard whom many pointed to as the person who first seriously damaged Harris released a gracious statement about her), and Cory Booker and Deval Patrick are the remaining black candidates. (Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother.) Nonetheless, it know looks like based on the qualifications for the December debate, all candidates on stage for the Democrats will be white (per DNA tests for Elizabeth Warren), and this is something that greatly troubles the party in their push for diversity. It is hard to remember a GOP debate in recent cycles without Ben Carson or Herman Cain filling a spot. Without Booker or Patrick or Andrew Yang or Julian Castro (or Gabbard), the stage will be all white. Some have even quipped that that there will be more billionaires than people of color on stage. That would be true, thanks to Tom Steyer, even as Michael Bloomberg will not be taking part. I will expect the DNC to finesse their rules to indeed put lower polling minority candidates on that debate stage. Still though, it is virtually a given that the next Democrat Presidential nominee will be Caucasian. With each passing week, more and more people are taking the Pete Buttigieg campaign seriously. There is some serious angst on the far left about him with conspiracy theories about him having worked for the CIA.

There was much else in the news this week regarding impeachment proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee, a likely terrorist attack on a U.S. base yesterday in Florida, and all sorts of controversy stemming from Donald Trump's trip to London to represent out country before NATO.

Amid the daily news cycles, even in this Holiday Season, there is much anger out there in the political arena. We see this with Trump's Tweets and even those of his wife when they tried to spin an illy advised joke about their son's name by a professor in the impeachment hearing to their advantage by comparing it somehow to child abuse. We saw anger by Congressional defenders of Trump in the hearings as well and by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom after announcing that she will allow formal Articles of Impeachment to be drafted, took public umbrage "as a Catholic" to a question about whether or not she "hated" Donald Trump. (Clearly her Catholic values would have to be off-limits though in discussing her views on late term abortion for example.)

There was a weird and uncomfortable demonstration of anger though at a Town Hall meeting in Iowa by the increasingly weird and uncomfortable Joe Biden campaign. On the surface, things continue to look good for Biden, who leads many national polls, and has been gaining some endorsements, including that of former nominee John Kerry, whom at least we can now cross of the list of potential senior citizens attempting to make a Presidential comeback.

An 83 year old unidentified retired Iowa farmer stood up to ask Joe Biden about his son Hunter's involvement in Ukraine. He got some facts wrong, which Biden would have been ok in pointing out, but he angrily told the man he was a "damn liar."  I know family is a sensitive issue, but he should have had a better response than that. The conversation apparently went on with this Iowa voter expressing concern about Biden's age. The candidate then challenged the man to a push-up contest or to go running and seemed to call the portly gentleman "fat" which his campaign has said was actually "facts." He also challenged him an IQ test.  For decades, Biden upon getting angry has challenged voters or reporters to IQ tests or declared that he had a higher IQ than people challenging him. This was not the friendly "Uncle Joe." This was the mad dog Joe Biden of the 2012 Vice Presidential debate. Perhaps some angry liberals will appreciate it, but I think it was a bad look all around. The bottom line is that he has angrily sparred with voters in similar matter as a Presidential candidate going all the way back to 1987 and has not seemed to learn the lesson of his past campaign failures.

Afterwards, the man had some pretty harsh things to say about Biden and supporters of the former Vice President claim he is clearly a Trump supporter to bring up Hunter and Ukraine and Biden's fitness. In actuality, the man is apparently a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, whom even after all of this said he would still vote for Biden over Donald Trump. He referred to the current President as a "first class asshole." If only he led with that, perhaps Biden would have been nicer.

Instead, Biden revealed (not for the first time) a bit of the ugly side of his personality and the pressures upon him as a candidate this time around. As mentioned, some may like anyone who pushes back in a fiery way on someone who harshly questions them. Those who love Donald Trump surely do. This was a very Trumpian episode (and again, far from the first time) by Biden. Is this the best way to unite the country to both defeat Trump and better the unity of the nation afterwards?

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

NFL Week 14 Games

NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 84-107 (44%)

1 . Cowboys (6-6) at Bears (6-6)


2. Panthers (5-7) at Falcons (3-9)
3. Colts (6-6) at Buccaneers (5-7)
4. Dolphins (3-9) at Jets (4-8)
5. 49ers (10-2) at Saints (10-2)
6. Lions (3-8-1) at Vikings (8-4)
7. Broncos (4-8) at Texans (8-4)
8. Ravens (10-2) at Bills (9-3)
9. Bengals (1-11) at Browns (5-7)
10. Redskins (3-9) at Packers (9-3)
11. Chargers (4-8) at Jaguars (4-8)
12. Steelers (7-5) at Cardinals (3-8-1)
13. Titans (7-5) at Raiders (6-6)
14. Chiefs (8-4) at Patriots (10-2)
15. Seahawks (10-2) at Rams (7-5)

16. Giants (2-10) at Eagles (5-7)

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

NFL Week 13 Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Bears (5-6) at Lions (3-7-1) W 1
2. Bills (8-3) at Cowboys (6-5) W 2
3. Saints (9-2) at Falcons (3-8) L 1

4. Titans (6-5) at Colts (6-5) W 3
5. Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11) W 4
6. Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6) W 5
7. 49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2) W 6
8. Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7) L 2
9. Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5) W 7
10. Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9) L 3
11. Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9) W 8
12. Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1) L 4
13. Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8) W 9
14. Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4) W 10
15. Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4) W 11

16. Vikings (8-3) at Seahawks (9-2) L 5

Week 13 Results: 11-5 (69%)
Overall Results: 84-107 (44%)


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 48

Tensions were high at many Thanksgiving tables this past Thursday and relatives, friends, and people who may have never met before found themselves involved in political discussions. While there were not widespread reports of violence, there were likely some raised voices and angry pointed words from coast to coast. And that was just among the Democrats...

We continue to inch closer to the first contests of the 2020 cycle, as 18 major Democrat contenders continue to jockey for position for the right to face a divisive incumbent with subpar poll numbers who is literally about to be impeached. Yet their is genuine concern on the left about whether Trump can actually be defeated and fear about the various weaknesses that their frontrunners have.

What would be better for Democrats? A quick and orderly process in which a candidate wins early and wins often and wraps things up before many can either catch their breath? Or would it be better for the process to drag on, exciting voters about the process, with the ultimate winner having faced a gauntlet that will have proven his or her political mettle? There are risks involved in both scenarios. Political junkies and journalist still dream about the possibility of a "brokered convention" in which perhaps someone not even in the race gets nominated.

The evidence suggests that neither Joe Walsh nor William Weld have much of a path for success against Donald Trump in what is a shamefully rigged process this cycle. Still, both man deserve credit for what amounts to a kamikaze mission and raising needed issues about both Trump and conservatism to a party base that wants to avoid having to think much. Trump of course can make news by Tweeting out photos of himself as Rocky Balboa or for confusion about the gender of Conan, the hero dog. There are just so many jokes and sharpie drawings that could come into play. I was considering making this whole write-up just devoted to jokes on those two matters. I will save them for December perhaps.

So, most of the campaign action is on the Democrat side. This week, I will take a very perfunctory look, in alphabetical order, about the potentials (if they even remotely exist) and pitfalls of all 18 Democrats, i alphabetical order.

Joe Biden, the former Vice President is still looked at as the front-runner. He is also the strongest among African-Americans and Latinos, key Democrat constituencies. For that reason, he is leading the polling in the early states of South Carolina and Nevada. However, Iowa and New Hampshire come first and he may not win either, which would be an historically bad sign for any Presidential candidate. In fact, he could finish in fourth place in both states, if recent polls are to be believed. While many in the party respect Biden, and recognize that Trump seems to want to least run against him, there are many concerns about his age and mental fitness, whether those fears are justified or not. What is not in dispute is that Biden is a "gaffe machine" and has been for a very long time. This week, there were reports that even Barack Obama was taking a shot at Biden's ability to connect with voters.

Mike Bloomberg, the longtime Democrat turned Republican turned Independent Mayor of New York City, (who rejoined his current party after leaving office) is now officially in the race and the billionaire is spending some serious money on the airwaves as he plans to skip the earliest contests. He is also not taking a cent in donations, choosing to completlely self-fund his bid. There is some question as to if he will appear in any debate this cycle with his fellow Democrat candidates.  Bloomberg's ads are good and his earliest appearances look very professional, but he has pandered to some on the left in regards to his record in fighting crime as Mayor and seems unabashed in advocating nanny state policies. Nonetheless, he may be the last hope of those who fear that a far left "anti-capitalist" could be nominated and be unelectable. Many things will have to happen for Bloomberg to be in the game at the end, but chief among them will have to be a full implosion of Joe Biden's political career.

Michael Bennet, one of the most impressive vote getters in the field, by virtue of his tough victories for a Colorado Senate seat, continues to run, but in virtual invisibility. There is not much of a chance for Bennet to qualify for any future debates. There just does not seem to be much room for a low key "moderate." If he even stays in until Iowa, he will likely be out of the race before the sun rises the next morning.

Cory Booker, still has a reelection campaign in New Jersey to fall back on, but for now, he continues to run, hoping mostly that he can capture the kind of late African-American support that once boosted Obama to the nomination.  However, history can only be made once and for all of Booker's impressive speaking ability, he comes across as a bit unauthentic to many. He was initially hoping to run as a contrast to Trump in regards to being a unifying "love all the people" but instead just tried to run a campaign that he felt left-wing activists wanted to see. Since so many others are doing the same thing, this appears to be a lost opportunity.

Steve Bullock is entering his last year as Governor of Montana. He is the only candidate to have ever won anything in a state that Trump won in 2016, but like the case for Bennet, a "moderate" who is unable to get in the news cycle stands no chance, especially if they can no longer qualify for debates. Bullock will have to rely on as much free media as possible.

Pete Buttigieg, another "B' name is perhaps the biggest winner of 2019 for the Democrat candidates. When one considers that he entered the year as the virtually unknown Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, well short of 40 years old, the fact that he as of now looks like the front-runner in Iowa, close to the lead in New Hampshire, and within striking distance of the national lead is pretty incredible. Clearly, he has touched a cord with many voters. However, they seem to be almost exclusively white voters. Buttigieg is said to have very little African-American support, and if he is to be the nominee, that will have to change. Some say this has to do with his record as Mayor, while the candidate himself says he is just not that well-known with black voters yet. However, what often goes unsaid is that many black voters are uneasy with the concept of a gay President. This has become a delicate balancing act for "Mayor Pete" who found himself being criticized after the last debate by Kamala Harris, for what he seemed to suggest ( I think a bit unfairly) that he was trying to compare his experience as a gay man to that historic prejudices faced by African-Americans. For now though, Buttigieg has the potential to either rise or fall a great deal. Right now, he seems to be taking votes from both Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren as some see him as electable ideologically but without the problem of being "too old." Does he have a problem of being "too young" though?

Julian Castro, the lone Latino in the field, and the last remaining Texan, seems to be running on fumes.  His campaign has just never taken off and he has been roundly criticized for having a bit of a mean streak to him. Facing fundraising problems and being kept off the debate stage seems to have Castro perhaps hoping for a chance to add diversity to a ticket next summer. It has come across to me that he seems to be trying to do Elizabeth Warren's dirty work.

John Delaney, was the first Democrat to enter the race, and has quietly worked in Iowa to gather support for a long time now. Unless, there is some secret clandestine base for him though, this all seems to be for naught. As mentioned, a low-key Democrat who talks about pro-business policies is running in the wrong party in the wrong cycle, as long as they are not a billionaire. Ironically enough though, someone like Delaney, if he were to be nominated, could probably beat Trump soundly.

Tulsi Gabbard, has reached the stage where she is portrayed as the "villian" in SNL spoofs of the Democrat debates.  The layers to her candidacy are complex and the various theories are numerous. She is not likely to win any contests except for the online Drudge Report surveys, but she appears more than willing to take on party orthodoxy and launch attacks against her fellow candidates. Many Democrats think she will somehow wind up endorsing Donald Trump. I do not think she will, but might snub the eventual nominee.

Kamala Harris is perhaps the greatest disappointment among the candidates in 2019. When she announced, she looked like a real frontrunner and was expected to surge after an early debate. However, she has proven to be out of her depth outside of California wholesale politics and there has apparently been much chaos on her team.Like Booker, she has seen how difficult it is to rally African-American voters in the post-Obama era, when many seem content to go with a white candidate with a more familiar name. She is betting it all on Iowa and will need to finish at least third place to survive.

Amy Klobuchar seems to be planning on slow and steady winning the race. She is probably going to be disappointed, but may actually have a better chance than many of the others. For this to happen for the Minnesota Senator, she will need Biden to implode, Buttigieg to never truly take off, fear of Elizabeth Warren and/or Bernie Sanders to be palpable, and a backlash against Bloomberg to persist. It is a tall order but I can at least see a small window. For all these female candidates though, there may indeed be a glass ceiling among the supposedly "woke" Democrats, particularly among older African-American and Latino voters about female Presidential candidates. After all, twice did Hillary Clinton fail to meet expectations as a candidate for the nomination.

Deval Patrick has entered the race late and when "Deval went down to Georgia" on the same night a debate was held there, only two people showed up and the event was cancelled. Other African-American candidates have struggled in this field as have other nerdy candidates. What chance does an African-American nerd have? He may just be hoping that somehow his old friend Barack Obama will endorse him.

Bernie Sanders remains the oldest candidate in the field, (albeit with some closer contenders) and the most anti-capitalist (again with at least one close competitor). He has continued to demonstrate strong fundraising and grassroots ability. However, his path is harder in a multi-candidate field. He continues to split a base with Elizabeth Warren that is preventing either of of them from being a clear front-runner. Asssuming his heart issue in the past, Sanders remains a contender. He may very well win Iowa and New Hampshire both, which would spell doom for Warren and generate panic within the party. Obama was said this week to claim he will personally get involved in the race to prevent Sanders from being nominated.

Joe Sestak was at one time the highest ranked member of the military ever to be elected to Congress. Now, he is the least known of the 18 "major" Democrats running for President. He has not appeared in a single debate and that streak will continue. His only hope is to be nominated on approximately the 109th ballot in Milwaukee.

Tom Steyer is no longer the richest candidate in the field. Why does he even want to waste his money anymore? He may be able to semi-buy some endorsements and get name recognition from his tv ads, which allows him to be in the debates, but he has not made much of an impact as a candidate. However, he can always at least claim that he was ahead of the herd on impeachment.

Elizabeth Warren has had a tough couple of months. Still, I would be very cautious about counting her out. She knows what Democrat activitsts like to hear and if she has struggled lately, it might be because she has attempted to water down her ambitious "plans." because many fear she is not electable.  How she does in Iowa and New Hampshire will of course tell all and of course Bernie Sanders plays a big part in her future in the race as well. She might indeed go even further to the left in order to establish her base when the voting starts. However, she is so divisive that even now, she runs weaker against Trump than the other major candidates.

Marianne Williamson is apparently still running, but since she is no longer in the debates, her fifteen minutes of political fame may be over. She would an endorsement form her old friend Oprah. The spiritual guru has said that Democrats needs to come to grips with the "dark toxic forces" in America that have elevated Trump to the Presidency and how it goes far beyond him as an individual. I think she may really be on to something there.

Andrew Yang is not going to be President, but he has done wonders for his branding. There's something oddly likable about him even as his campaign is quixotic and weird. While much of is may be due to the historic nature of the first ever major Asian-American Democrat contender, Yang has already outlasted and continues to outpoll bigger names. He should be proud of that.

There we have it. A rundown of all the contenders as the Holiday Season truly begins, to be followed by formal Impeachment season, and with voting likely to come soon thereafter if not in between.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

NFL Week 13 Games

NOT PREDICTIONS

Happy Thanksgiving

Overall Results: 73-102 (42%)

1. Bears (5-6) at Lions (3-7-1)
2. Bills (8-3) at Cowboys (6-5)
3. Saints (9-2) at Falcons (3-8)

4. Titans (6-5) at Colts (6-5)
5. Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11)
6. Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6)
7. 49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2)
8. Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7)
9. Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5)
10. Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9)
11. Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9)
12. Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1)
13. Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8)
14. Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4)
15. Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4)

16. Vikings (8-3) at Seahawks (9-2)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

NFL Week 12 Results

NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Colts (6-4) at Texans (6-4) W 1

2. Broncos (3-7) at Bills (7-3) W 2
3. Giants (2-8) at Bears (4-6) W 3
4. Steelers (5-5) at Bengals (0-10) L 1
5. Dolphins (2-8) at Browns (4-6)W 4
6. Buccaneers (3-7) at Falcons (3-7) L 2
7. Panthers (5-5) at Saints (8-2) L 3
8. Seahawks (8-2) at Eagles (5-5) L 4
9. Lions (3-6-1) at Redskins (1-9)W 5
10. Raiders (6-4) at Jets (3-7) W 6
11. Jaguars (4-6) at Titans (5-5) W 7
12. Cowboys (6-4) at Patriots (9-1) W 8
13. Packers (8-2) at 49ers (9-1) L 5

14. Ravens (8-2) at Rams (6-4) W 9

Week 12 Results: 9-5 (64%)
Overall Results: 73-102 (42%)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 47

Well, now that Wayne Messam, the Mayor of Miramar, Florida has finally exited the Presidential contest on the Democrat side, the race can really begin in earnest, right?

This was a news-heavy week, and one where a ten candidate debate took a backseat to many hours of testimony and partisan wrangling before the House Intelligence Committee. We learned this week, if there was any doubt, that Donald Trump will soon be impeached and the process will intensify. The sworn testimony of witnesses did not go well for the Trump White House. The facts of what Trump and his underlings, both inside and outside of government did, are hard to deny and the motivations are clear. Still, in spite of it all, there are no signs of Republicans, even in relatively small numbers determining that they will support the Impeachment vote or removal in the Senate. Thus, Trump looks likely to be acquitted and of course re-nominated. He will then have to face the voters and a Democrat opponent who will have endured a brutal process of their own. Will the people then determine that the rule of law matters more than the pursuit or wielding of power? Will fear of economic upheaval through drastic policy initiatives make all of that moot?

We are living in a time where our politics, from the Oval Office on down are as mean and personal as they have been in the memories of anyone living. People have come to accept that as a matter of fact. At the same time, a film extolling the virtues of the late Mr. Rogers is likely to be a big box office winner this week. What a dichotomy we find ourselves in as the final weeks of this decade tick down. You cannot get much different than Mr. Rogers and Mr. Trump.

Where we last left off, voters in conservative Louisiana were voting in the Gubernatorial run-off. As I predicted, a close contest went to the incumbent Democrat, John Bel Edwards. Since Trump actively campaigned against him, this was chalked up as another loss. However, Edwards is about as conservative on social issues as it gets for Democrats and thus hard for some in the party to celebrate his win, considering the absolute dismissal they have for anybody who might hold Pro-Life views.

On Wednesday night, ten Democrats took the stage in Atlanta. For the most part, Joe Biden had his best debate, at least until the final portions. Then, he made some gaffes, and those continue to get replayed. Still, nobody really went after him too effectively and he might have won based on that. Instead, there were some modest efforts to stop the momentum of outgoing South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg who has soared to the top of the polls in Iowa and may very well be on the rise in New Hampshire as well. Mayor Pete, one of the youngest candidates to ever be a serious contender for the Presidency is beloved by many white liberals and also by Democrats who think he fits an electable profile. Young voters and gay voters love him and are excited about his campaign. However, African-Americans, who make up a significant portion of the Democrat electorate are extremely lukewarm on this candidacy per polls. Some point to some questions regarding race during his time as Mayor. For others, his youthfulness and the fact that his gay have caused many Democrats (who are considered to be hip and "woke" by many in society) to rule him out right from the start.

As the debates continue and new candidates try to find their way into the fray, much of the nomination contest remains uncertain. What will happen if Buttigieg wins Iowa and then either neighboring Senator Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire? Where will Joe Biden have placed? Can he afford to finish in third or fourth place in those states and then rely on strong support from African-Americans in South Carolina to give a new birth to his campaign or will the damage be done?

Many in the field are biding their time hoping to pick up if Biden stumbles, while others are now also looking for a time when Buttigieg may fade off and they can pick up his support. What is also true is that Warren and Sanders continue to compete for the same share of the vote. For months, Warren was said to be beating Sanders in that lane race, but over the last month, Sanders may have inched back ahead of his colleague. Warren has taken hits for perceived unelctability and finding it difficult to explain how to pay for her proposals such as Medicaid for All. Recently, she revised her goal to say that it might take three years to enact what she had suggested would begin right away.

For one thing, the heart attack had by Sanders is almost forgotten at this point and has maybe even helped him. Those who admire a bleeding heart liberal mean it literally as well as figuratively. While some fans of Warren are scared she may not be able to beat Trump, those who like Sanders either do not believe that it applies to their candidate or do not care. They are true believers, not pragamitists.

One could write a book or screenwrite a mini-series based on the testimony in Washington this past week. Distinguished Americans both non-partisan, and those associated directly with Trump, such as the case of Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, have made it clear that Trump, despite words to the contrary, did expect a quid pro quo from  Ukraine in which military aid was held up until they would announce that they were investigating Hunter Biden and long debunked stories about interfering against Trump in the 2016 election. Significantly, Trump believed that Ukraine just had to announce the investigations, not actually do them. So this was definitely all about the Bidens and all about his political standing. Yes, the money that Congress appropriated to help Ukraine was eventually released, but only after this scheme went public. Who benefits most from harm to Ukraine? Russia and Vladimir Putin of course.

Without being able to dispute the facts, Trump partisans took to attacking the witnesses or claiming what they said helped Trump in some pretty severe cases of goal post moving. Some side with Trump and say everything he did was "perfect" while others are willing to admit he did something wrong, but would prefer some sort of "censure" rather than removing him from office so close to an election. That line of thinking will be important to watch in the weeks ahead, especially since Trump is almost certain not to go for it and is saying now he wants a full trial in the Senate and the right to call all sorts of Democrats as witnesses, including the Bidens.

The fact that even Republicans critical of Trump's foreign policy such as "retiring" Congressman Will Hurd, a promising young star from Texas are saying that they do not believe these facts rise to the level of impeachment is a sign that the vote to impeach and ultimately the vote in the Senate will be nearly all along partisan lines. Thus, we know how the story will end, at least how it will end this winter. What exactly would rise to the level of impeachment for these Republicans?

This process will continue to divide the American people in the coming political year, but to me, the verdict of history is more important. This is a mirror held up to who we are as a society. How we got to the place we did, where character and honor is secondary to wealth or perceived accomplishments is a long story. This battle was a big part of the 1996 campaign that I remember so well.  The Democrats won that one and now when they find themselves on the other side, they are reaping what they once sowed.

Some like me though are on the same side now as I was then. Honor is more important than wealth. Danger is preferable to disgrace. In the words of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an American patriot and war hero, who despite being the target of partisan attacks, spoke out in Congress this week, in a way he never would have had the freedom to do in his native Soviet Union, "in America, right matters."